Thursday, September 17, 2015

Week 2 NFL Picks

Well, that got ugly quick. Really, its what I get for getting so cocky about it. However, I did make it clear in the open that week one was the hardest week of all to pick. There's way to much random chaos out there to try to figure anything out definitively.

The good news is that you wont find me swinging from the rafters anytime soon. If anything, I am now more motivated to get this right.

Until then please enjoy this weeks entrance music:

* All regular season lines taken from*

Broncos @ Chiefs (-3.5)

I wasn't wrong last week when I claimed that Peyton Manning should have retired. He looked done against the Ravens. I just underestimated how good the Broncos D was going to be. Similarly, I may have overestimated the Texans D v. the Chiefs. I also failed to take into account that nobody is better at multiple week game planning than Andy Reid. The Chiefs are unlikely to dominate the Broncos quite like they did the Texans, but they should be able to muster enough offense to get by Zombie Peyton Manning.

Pick: Chiefs

Titans @ Browns (-1.5)

Here's two teams I totally misread. I thought year 2 of Mike Pettine would mean a hungry, motivated Browns team, not one that rolled over and played dead against the Jets of all teams. I also failed to take into account the Marcus Mariota might be actually pretty good and that Ken Wisenhunt can be successful when is QB is pretty good. I think Vegas made a huge mistake with this line and wouldn't be surprised if the Titans are 2-3 pt favorites by game time. But CBS locked it in when they did so...

Pick: Titans

Buccaneers @ Saints (-10.5)

I think my Bucs pick last week was nothing but wishful thinking. I wanted to see Jameis Winston play well, but he was so far above most of his college competition (talent wise) its going to be a major "frame of mind" adjustment for him at the pro level. The guys he's playing against are really, really good. And the guys drafting game-plans against are also really, really good. That's why they are professionals. But 10.5 pts spread in the second week of the season? This is usually at least a week 10 spread.

Pick: Bucs

Patriots @ Bills (.5)

A basically pick game against the Patriots in week 2 for the Bills? That's a lot of respect. Or a lot of misplaced love. Rex Ryan had a history of upending the Patriots early on in his tenure with the Jets, but after that? Not so much. Plus for as much pressure as Buffalo threw at Indy last week it was always with 5-6-7 rushers. That's not how you beat Tom Brady. Especially not when he has a weapon like Gronk to create nightmare matchups all over the field. If you can't bring consistent pressure against Brady with only four rushers then you can't win. The Bills front four is very, very good, but will Sexy Rexy step outside of himself and trust his players to get the job done? I'm betting no. Its that whole "White Whale" complex.

Pick: Patriots

Cardinals @ Bears (2.5)

The Bears were extremely close to covering last week and would have if not for Jay Cutler doing Jay Cutler things. The Cardinals demolished the Saints out in the desert. Its hard to tell exactly how good the Saints are going to be, but the Cardinals could well give the Seahawks a run for their money in the NFC West. If this was December I might feel differently about how the Cards would fair on the road in Chicago. But in September? They aught to be able to cover a field goal.

Pick: Cardinals

49ers @ Steelers (-6.5)

This is another curious line. The 49ers were kind of a left for dead team and they went out rolled up the Vikings in a big way, while the Steelers put up a decent fight against the Pats. But I guess the odds makers aren't sold of on the 49ers (& after 1 week that is more than fair) and are also looking for the Steelers to rebound big in their home opener. Also, I think there's some science behind West Coast teams struggling in East Coast games. Or maybe its the other way around...

Pick: 49ers

Rams @ Skins (3.5)

The NFC West may be the best division top to bottom in all of football. The Skins are terrible and they deserve to be.

Pick: Rams

Chargers @ Bengals (-3.5)

Two (of the many) teams I picked against last week. But these two in particular stand out because I used some intangibles to go against them. Like I know what's really going on with these teams. So its like my grandfather's uncle's friend's cousin used to say: "When you're lost in the woods, just go home"

Pick: Bengals

Texans @ Panthers (-3.5)

Panthers beat a bad team like they were supposed to last week while the Texans got roughed up by Andy Reid's Chiefs who had been game planning since the schedule game out in April. And now it sounds like the Texans are going with Ryan Mallet this week? So the question on this game is: Do I really believe Ryan Mallet on the road is the answer? I say no.

Pick: Panthers

Falcons @ Giants (-2.5)

Isn't it just like the Giants to lose, but to cover? I hate the Giants.

Pick: Falcons

Lions @ Vikings (-3.5)

I picked both these teams last week and both teams let me down. For all I care it can snow 10 feet in the greater Minneapolis area and the game can be moved to the home stadium of the Saskatchewan Rough Riders.

Pick: Vikings

Ravens @ Raiders (7.5)


Pick: Ravens

Dolphins @ Jaguars (6.5)


Pick: Dolphins

Cowboys @ Eagles (-5.5)

The Eagles really let me down last week, but I'm afraid that without Dez Bryant the Cowboys are a much worse team. I might be wrong about that, but like the Giants, I hate betting on the Cowboys.

Pick: Eagles

Seahawks @ Packers (-3.5)

A rematch of that ridiculous NFC Championship game from last season. Packers might eek this one out, but will they do it by more than a field goal?

Pick: Seahawks

Jets @ Colts (-7.5)

Do you believe in Ryan Fitzpatrick? Because as a Bills fan, I do not.

Pick: Colts

So there they are. I know I've got a lot to prove. As always if you disagree, you know where to find me.

Season Record: 4-12

Thursday, September 10, 2015

NFL Week 1 Picks

After last season's 8-2 playoff run I am officially crowning myself the king. Now, heavy is the head that wears the crown, so if you want to try and knock it off I'm right here. Until then enjoy my Week 1 entrance music:

No doubt about it, Week 1 of the NFL season is by far the hardest one to pick. That's why somewhere between 1/3-1/2 of your suicide pool will be done by Tuesday of next week. We really don't know what we have with these teams yet.

We know what last year's team looked like and by and large their weren't too many major overhauls save the Buffalo Bills. That's not how football works anyway. You can't trade your way out of anything. You can cut players, sign other's castoffs, occasionally make a big free agent signing, but nothing like the 2015 Padres will every happen in the NFL. Its just not built that way.

The only major ways to change a team is to change the QB and change the coach. That's about it. Both of those changes will result in minor tweaks elsewhere, but its hard for teams to improve dramatically unless they do so from within.

So when making Week 1 picks you just have to go with information that you know, rely a little on what you think and cross your fingers. Everyone else is just as lost as you are. Also, preseason means nothing.

*Regular Season lines are taken from

Steelers @ Patriots (-7.5)

With all do respect to the Steelers who are one of the NFL's model franchises, New England will be hell bent in 2015 on destroying every team in their path. Belichick is pissed. Brady is pissed. Patriot Pat is pissed. The NFL tried to sell out THE model franchise and got exposed in the process. The 2015 Pats may not win every game, but teams that play them will not be the same afterwards.

Pick: Patriots

Packers @ Bears (+6.5)

I think the Bears have a new coach and I think that the Packers under-performed last year. Aaron Rodgers better be motivated to take down the league this year, but I can't guarantee that. I feel like his life is too good to be worried that much about football. Also (after some research), a John Fox coached Bears team will not be taking beat-downs of a touchdown or more at home.

Pick: Bears

Chiefs @ Texans (-1.5)

This might be one of the more intriguing games of the week. Andy Reid does some amazing things with offenses while JJ Watt does some amazing things to offenses. On the whole I feel like the Chiefs are probably the better team here, but the Texans front 4 ought to be able to totally disrupt any sort of rhythm the Chiefs try to establish on offense. Plus, who is the Chiefs' QB? Oh right, its Alex Smith.

Pick: Texans

Browns @ Jets (-3.5)

I can't even bring myself to conjure up any reason to how this game will end.

Pick: Browns

Colts @ Bills (+2.5)

These two teams are almost polar opposites. The Bills have talent  up and down their roster with a serviceable line (if healthy) and a huge question mark at QB. The Colts have a once in a generation talent at QB, a serviceable line (if healthy) and a dearth of talent everywhere else. Put Andrew Luck on the Bills and that team somehow wins 20 games. Put Tyrod Taylor, EJ Manuel, Matt Cassell, the ghost of Tim Couch or any other warm body in camp with the Bills at the helm for the Colts and that team wins a negative amount of games. Plus, the Ralph is going to be INSANE on Sunday.

Pick: Bills

Dolphins @ Skins (+3.5)

(Editors Note: Daniel Snyder has every right to name his football team anything he wants. However, I don't have to use that name and neither does anybody else. Therefore, consider them the Washington Skins on this blog.)

I don't know if this line is more about how good people believe the Dolphins will be or how bad people expect the Skins to be. And other than having the courage to sit down RG3, I can't really say what the Redskins have done this offseason. The Dolphins did sign one of the baddest men on the planet (between the lines anyway) and everyone seems to love Ryan Tannehill for some strange reason.

Pick: Dolphins

Panthers @ Jaguars (+3.5)

I want to pick the Jaguars here, but Cam Newton is just too damn good. If only Carolina could get some nice complementary pieces... Or if the Panthers would just trade him to the Bills. Does anyone have Terry Pegula's email?

Pick: Panthers

Seahawks @ Rams (+4.5)

This would be the ultimate test of the "Super Bowl" hangover effect if not for the unflappable Russel Wilson and the indomitable Pete Carroll. Nothing that happens with Seattle makes sense to the layperson and that's OK. When you win games you don't have to explain anything. Also, Nick Foles was a nice story, but I'm not so sure he's going to thrive with the Rams.

Pick: Seahawks

Saints @ Cardinals (-2.5)

The Cardinals are hard team to figure this season. For like 1/2 of 2014 they were one of the best teams in the league. Bruce Arians is a great coach and Carson Palmer is a good enough QB. However, after Palmer got hurt the Cardinals let Jesus take the Wheel and that truck careened right into oncoming traffic. It was ugly and sad. But Palmer's back and the Saints just seem to get a little worse every year.

Pick: Cardinals

Lions @ Chargers (-3.5)

Chargers never play well early in the year.

Pick: Lions

Titans @ Buccaneers (-3.5)

Lovie Smith is a good coach who got a bit of a raw deal in Chicago. But then again, I kind of think that being a NFL coach is a bit of a raw deal. What other job has you working 80 hour weeks and forces your family to move to a new city every 2 years. I don't get it. You know what I do get? When two rookie QB's match up, take the one playing at home.

Pick: Bucs

Bengals @ Raiders (+3.5)

This is the upset of the week. Things have to turn around in Oakland eventually. Could this be the year? Also, Marvin Lewis Bengals teams, while typically solid are known for mental lapses. This is a mental lapse waiting to happen.

Pick: Raiders

Ravens @ Broncos (-4.5)

Peyton Manning should have retired.

Pick: Ravens

Giants @ Cowboys (-5.5)

I know the Giants had a bit of an unlucky season in 2014, but I don't see how they plan on turning it around. Honestly, they feel a bit like the Mets of like 3 or 4 years ago: no plan, no vision, no money (although, that's not really an issue in the NFL) and no hope. Well, apparently the Mets did have a plan or they sold their souls. I don't know which and I'm not here to judge. But, it means nothing for the Giants. They don't even play in the same state.

Pick: Cowboys

Eagles @ Falcons (+2.5)

Put me in the camp of those who believe that this is going to be Chip Kelly's year. He finally has the roster he wants and the QB that he wants. Hell, he won games when he didn't have those things. Couple that with a Falcons team that seems to perpetually lack identity. This is an easy one.

Pick: Eagles

Vikings @ 49ers (+2.5)

I don't get the 49ers as an organization. They let Jim Harbaugh build a winner and then bought his tickets out of town when they found out he was a bit of a meanie. How do you think that football games are won? Through negotiation and tact? No, you smack a guy in the mouth over and over again until they quit. Its not a pretty game. It never has been.

Pick: Vikings

There you have it. As always if you don't like my picks or my method let me know. I'm always happy to be told why I'm wrong.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Fear & Loathing in Fantasy Football

First of all, let me welcome myself back to the game. MoBettaBaseball went on hiatus for bit due to people and organizations paying me for my time where as the internet and by extension this blog just sucked up time. I don't regret that time, but a meaningful life is all about setting priorities. 

This time of year always means a realignment of time and priorities. After Fantasy Baseball's long slog its finally time to get serious, and that loathsome exercise known as Fantasy Football bubbles back up from its frothy abyss to dominate 3/4 of the conversations regarding football that you will have for the next 4 months. I know its not exactly a popular point of view to be "anti-fantasy football", but I am here's why:

1. As a male football fan in America it feels mandatory.
There used to be a day and time where getting drawn into a Fantasy Football conversation with someone not in your league was like a dirty little secret that you could share with a new friend. No one else really understood why you were giggling about 3rd wide receivers and kickers with your cousin's boyfriend at a wedding, but you did. And it was fun.

Now my boss is emailing me asking me if he should start Tampa's D against the Texans or roll with Bills' D. You know what? I don't care about your team. I barely care about mine. Why don't you start Tim Tebow in your Defense/Special Teams spot and see what happens?

2. Like having to start 3 closers in your Fantasy Baseball league? Imagine having to start closers at ever position...

Its already been been documented on this blog about how closers are the effin' worst part about Fantasy Baseball. They are incredibly unpredictable. At their best the provide only the smallest amounts of stats and/or points and at their worst they can absolutely blow up your week in only a handful of pitches. It sucks and its stupid. 

That's every position in Fantasy Football. Counting on Tom Brady to get you some big time numbers? Oh sorry, some fat-ass rolled up his knee in the first series of the season and he's done for the year. Thought you had a solid no. 1 overall pick in Adrian Peterson? Nope, his 4 year old son spilled some milk so he had to whip him bloody with a switch. Figured you had a sure bet with Calvin Johnson in your league championship? Too bad Matthew Stafford decided that he would try to use the football to pierce holes in the roof of Ford Field this week, The point is that each and every one of your players can crater, no-show, or get suspended for wiping their ass the wrong way and total eff you in the process. 

There is literally no rhyme or reason to it. Its chaos every week. Now, I don't mind some chaos here and there. There's a certain beauty to it, but don't expect me to spend hours on draft prep and chunks of my work week scouring the waiver wire for a lottery ticket. The beauty of the lottery is that its something for nothing. I'm not about to put in a bunch of work for the overwhelming odds of nothing.

3. People who talk trash and Fantasy Football do it like they playing kickball in Grade 5 gym class.

You know who I'm talking about. Hell, it might even be you. Regardless, its pathetic.

"Check the scoreboard loser. I'm gonna dominate this match-up just like I dominated the conciliation round last season!"

Ugh... I could go into some rant here accusing the offending party of bestiality or equate their interest in Fantasy Football to an obsession with girls pooping in diapers porn, but not today. Those things are best left in private.

4. Every year it gets harder to like football. 

This is not necessarily Fantasy Football's fault, but it does go a long way to keep us all distracted from the very real problems that football incurs. I've long espoused that professional sports and pro wrestling are not all that different. Well, no sport draws a stronger parallel to pro wrestling than the NFL. Both were once a haven for ne'er-do-wells and scoundrels, but made efforts to move to a family friendly environment. Although pro wrestling has been more forward thinking and successful on this front. Both treat their talent like disposable products and recognize that "the show must go on". And both have a disturbing pattern of losing retired athletes early on in their post performance lives.

Like I said before, this is not Fantasy Football's fault. If anything, the NFL seems to be in tune with fans' interest in Fantasy Football and have adjusted rules accordingly. These rule changes have also been better for player safety, but has done relatively little for those interior lineman who are the ones paying the greatest price. It just doesn't make me feel good knowing what is being sacrificed for the sake of entertainment, however that entertainment is delivered.

If you're still reading, I'm done with that. I do still play in one Fantasy Football league and by no means should you stop. I just have a forum to preach and I did. I'm done. Picks will be up by Wednesday or Thursday morning.